The only Red with the letters “HR” appearing consecutively in his name is starting to show home run power at the perfect time.
A Reds offense that needed a boost after a stagnant June has gotten it with the recent play of left fielder Chris Heisey. He homered Friday for the third time in July, and he’s hitting .367 (11-for-30) since coming off the disabled list June 25.
“I remember when I got drafted in 2006, I went to rookie ball, and the first two months, I was leading the league by hitting .380,” Heisey said. “Sometimes you don’t need a bunch of at-bats to get a hot streak. Right when I got back, I got a couple of hits, drove the ball, hit a couple of doubles, and it’s like, ‘Hey, I’m feeling pretty good.’
“A lot of times that added peace of mind allows you to relax and just not think about your swing and your mechanics.”
Heisey started a second straight game Saturday in the second game of the three-game series against the Pirates at Great American Ball Park. Manager Dusty Baker would have rather started Derrick Robinson, but he’s banged up after a head-first slide against the Braves in the last game before the break.
“Ordinarily, I might not be playing (Heisey) against (A.J.) Burnett because Burnett’s going to throw him a lot of breaking balls,” Baker said. “That’s why I’m not playing (Todd) Frazier today because (Jack) Hannahan’s had some pretty good success. Both Frazier and Heisey prefer gas. You’ve got to to know your personnel. X (Xavier Paul) doesn’t really like breaking balls either.”
Hannahan was 6-for-21 (.286) against Burnett in his career entering the game, while Heisey was 2-for-13 (.154)
Parra excellence: Manny Parra has quietly turned into one of the Reds’ top relievers. He had an 8.44 ERA on June 7 and has since made 16 consecutive scoreless appearances (13 1/3 innings) to lower his ERA to 3.75.
In Friday’s 5-3 victory, Parra entered in the seventh with runners on second and third and two outs and struck out Pedro Alvarez to end the inning. He struck out the first batter of the eighth, too, before the Reds brought in Sam LeCure.
Parra has retired 26 of the last 29 batters he’s faced and stranded the last 12 runners he’s inherited. He credited injured reliever Sean Marshall and pitching coach Bryan Price for helping him make adjustments and learn to adapt to the bullpen. Parra was a starter with the Brewers his first four seasons in the majors.
“With the experience comes confidence,” Parra said. “I’m having some success here, and I just want to keep rolling with it and getting the job done with the team.”
Another sellout: With a crowd of 40,831 on Friday, the Reds recorded their 10th sellout of the season and the 90th in the history of Great American Ball Park. Just over a quarter of those sellouts have happened in the last two seasons. The Reds set a stadium record with 15 sellouts last season.
The Reds are averaging 32,981 fans. They lost one home game because the Giants game that was rained out July 4 will be made up in San Francisco as part of a double-header July 23. Even so, the Reds are on pace to draw a stadium record 2,535,138 fans.